Hidden treasures

The Camel’s House in the Cannaregio district

Historical Curiosities

The Camel’s House in the Cannaregio district

If you take a walk in the Cannaregio district you might come across a camel, clearly not a camel in the flesh, but one depicted in a particular bas-relief placed on the facade of Palazzo Mastelli, commonly known precisely as the camel’s house. The peculiar representation - a man who leads a camel - seems to have originated from a romantic and equally doomed love story...

Legend has it that a wealthy Middle Eastern merchant, who was forced to leave his homeland to move to Venice, decided to have a camel carved on the facade of his new house in order to make it recognizable to the woman he loved, who had not agreed to marry him and follow him as his bride. In case she decided to join him, she would have easily found him. It is not known if the bride-to-be ever showed up at the rich merchant's house but one thing is certain: the palace was actually built by the Mastelli family around 1100. The three brothers, Rioba, Sandi and Afani, were silk and spices merchants who came to Venice from Morea to set up a business and it seems that their effigy was precisely a camel.

There is also another and more recent legend linked to the Mastelli palace: back in 1757 it was believed that the building was haunted by mischievous ghosts who, every day at the same time, rang all the bells of the house. As time passed, other and more frequent strange phenomena would happen: footstep sounds, windows opening and closing by themselves, shadows and broken mirrors... such was the fright that women fainted, strange evicting rituals were carried out and the inhabitants of the neighborhood ran away from the house...

Do you like ghost legends and other mysterious stories? Then don't miss the chance to discover what mysteries are hidden within the walls of Venetian palaces! On our portal you can find tours and activities that will be perfect for you!

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Venice: 'Duri i banchi!': the meaning of a famous motto in Venice

Figures of speech

The Venetians are a people of workers, proud and deeply attached to their city, and for these reasons, they never surrender to hardship...


Venice: Coronavirus is not (fortunately) Venice’s new plague

Historical Curiosities

As recently as a month ago the Coronavirus or COVID-19 started to affect our lives causing much disruption. It appeared precisely in ou...


Venice: History of the Queen of Venice Carnival: Frittella!

Local Traditions

It is Carnival time...and what could be better than biting into a soft and tasty Venetian frittella? Frittella, ‘fritoea or fritola...


Venice: The legend of Melusina and the stone heart of Sotoportego dei Preti

Mysteries & Legends

February: the feast of lovers is approaching and you are thinking of relishing magical experiences together with your better half in Ve...


Top posts

Chioggia: The Valley of the Seven Dead Men

Mysteries & Legends

Halloween is just around the corner: have you already got into the fascinating terrifying aura of the scariest party of the year? No ye...


Venice: The stone heart of St Mark’s Basilica

Unknown places & works

If you are visiting St Mark’s Basilica and have just abandoned the wonderful vision of the Pala d'Oro (which is a must-see), just a f...


Venice: Map of Venice, what to know before you leave

Did you know that...

Did you know that Venice is not a single large island but rather a collection of 117 small islands linked together by over 400 bridges?...


Verona: The roman walls of Verona

Historical Curiosities

Verona has always been considered a city of considerable importance from a military point of view: being at the mouth of the Adige Vall...